Why Should We Hire You? What to Say in a Job Interview
Interview questions come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are expected and easy to prepare for, while others can have the power to throw you off the track. Quite interestingly, it’s the question “Why should we hire you?” that can seem the most difficult to answer.
Yet, the question is essentially what the whole interview is about – you are there to tell the hiring manager that you are perfect for the role. But precisely because it’s such an all-encompassing and broad question, finding the right answer might seem difficult.
You can’t spend an eternity on the answer, you don’t want to sound too arrogant to make it seem like you are a know-it-all, and you don’t want to sell yourself short because they don’t want to hire a loser. What do you say?
Fear no more because you are about to find out how to give the perfect answer to this question. We’ll start by examining the purpose of the questions before moving on to how you should prepare for it. We’ll reveal the building blocks of a good answer and provide you with some example answers, as well as the mistakes you must avoid.
WHAT’S THE PURPOSE OF THE QUESTION?
Before you even attempt to give a good answer to this question, you should stop for a moment and think why you’re being asked about it in the first place. What is the purpose of this question?
The interviewer isn’t trying to trick you or annoy you with such a complicated question. They are genuinely looking to find out why you think you should be hired – it is as simple as that.
OK, but let’s look deeper into this. The interviewer is trying to find out whether you are the best fit for the role – in fact, they are asking, “Why do you think you are the best fit for the role?” The answer to this contains three separate things the interviewer is looking to know. They want to know:
You need to craft an answer that convinces the hiring manager of those three things. It’s almost like your sales pitch. If you go to the phone store, you are essentially looking at the salesperson going, “Why should I buy this phone?”
And just like it’s the salesperson’s job to make you feel you need and benefit from the phone, in a job interview, it’s your job to make the hiring manager realise the company needs and benefits from hiring you.
PREPARING FOR THE QUESTION
Just like with any other job interview question, you need to prepare in order to nail it down to a tee. The steps you need to take before you start composing your answer are:
1. Read and understand the job description
The most important thing is to go over the job description to fully understand what it is about. You need to make sure you are aware of what the role entails and what is expected of you.
It’s a good idea to take a piece of paper and write down the requirements mentioned in the job description. You want to focus on the three main categories of:
- Traits – friendly, analytical, intuitive and so on.
- Skills – IT skills, language skills, communication skills and so on.
- Qualifications – specific degrees or courses, for example.
Write down all the keywords in these brackets to get an overview of what the company is looking for. Once you have the full list, you need to go through each requirement and mark whether you have it or not.
You can group the skills based on strong relevancy and a weaker relevancy. If there are requirements you don’t think you have, put them in a separate group for later. Think carefully which are your strengths and which might be your weaknesses.
2. Link the skills with a real example
Your next job is to take each skill and link it to a relevant example. For example, if the company is looking for someone with strong language skills, you need to come up with an example that demonstrates you have this skill. This might be a language degree, your history in working for a multilingual company and so on.
The main objective is to go through each skill on the list and consider finding an example for it. You will probably find it easier to find examples of those skills that are your strengths easier. But make sure you also think about the group of requirements you don’t think you possess. Perhaps you can find something that demonstrates that particular skill too?
3. Think beyond the job description
Now, you don’t want your preparation to be limited to staring at the job description. Employers can’t list all the relevant skills and requirements in the job description – sometimes you need to know how to read between the lines.
There are two major areas to focus on here. First, you need to consider the industry and its general requirements. What are the skills the competitors are looking for or the skills that are particularly useful in this role? Look into the future as well – how will the industry change? For example, HR is changing with the rise of artificial intelligence. Do you have a specific skill that would be useful when the changes happen? Simple Google searches with “Skills+ <the industry>” can help you get started. You can also view job postings for other companies and read industry specific blogs.
You also need to think about the company’s vision and its business culture. Check the company website, read a few interviews by the employees if you can find them and talk to them about the two topics. How can you help meet this vision and fit into the crowd? You want to figure out those skills that make it easier to fit to the work environment and the skills the employer will need in order to reach its goals.
Again, think about the skills and then link to them with real-life examples. How have you demonstrated that skill or characteristic? You might find the company working towards being more inclusive or that it’s work culture emphasizes self-reliance. Write these down and then find an example from your past that might be useful in demonstrating this skill.
THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF THE BEST ANSWER
Your preparations are now over and it’s time to start composing the answer. When it comes to crafting the most effective message, these are the building blocks for the best answer.
Keep it short
You need to keep your answer short. This won’t be the only question you’ll be asked and you don’t want to find yourself blabbering or forever. With a concise message, you can get your message across much better – and focus on the most important selling point.
A good answer to the questions “Why should we hire you” probably lasts around a minute or two. You should approach it like an elevator pitch – how to sell yourself to the position in the amount of time it would take to take a lift from the bottom floor to the top.
Focus on your unique skills
Your answer should also include unique skills. These skills come from the extra research you did – those future skills or hidden talents you think would help the organization reach its vision and objectives. You also want your examples to be unique and reflect your specific abilities to help the company in the role.
The reason you want to include unique and unexpected skills is to create a more meaningful impact in the hiring manager’s mind. You will impress them by understanding the company and the industry better, instead of just listing skills from the job description. You also need to remember the hiring manager will ask all the candidates the same question – you won’t stand out from the crowd if you just state the same things as all the others.
Don’t write a script
You shouldn’t approach the job interview questions with scripted replies. While you want to think about the answers and have an idea on what you want to say, you shouldn’t research it like lines in a play. You want the answer to be thorough but natural.
Therefore, instead of writing the answer down word-to-word, you want to simply create a bullet point of things you want to say. This will allow you to think about the structure and to remember the key points without the answer turning into a citation.
You also need to remember to stay flexible. If you notice during the interview how the hiring manager keeps lifting up a particular skill as an important skill, you want your answer to be flexible enough to include it in. For example, they might keep mentioning how communication is key in the role. So, in your answer, you want to make sure to emphasize your expertise in communication.
Don’t be arrogant but be positive
While the question “Why should we hire you” is essentially about you selling yourself to the company, you shouldn’t show arrogance in your answer. You won’t single-handedly save the company – at least you can’t predict it! You shouldn’t paint a picture of yourself as a savior and someone who the company needs to survive.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t present yourself positively. But there is a difference to outlining your skills with positivity and arrogance:
Now, the key thing to remember is to stay honest. You are probably great at coding but you are most likely not the world’s best coder. You want to present your skills truthfully and authentically – you don’t want to fabricate things at any point during the interview.
Base your answer around the STAR method
You can benefit from using the STAR method for constructing your response. The method stands for:
The steps for a STAR answer will help you structure your answer in the following format:
- You begin by explaining the situation that you have to solve or overcome.
- You explain what you were expected to do in order to overcome and solve it.
- You describe the action you took to do so.
- You outline the result of your action and the impact your actions had on the situation.
You should go through your list of skills with the STAR method in mind – for each skill, you can come up with an example situation and how you solved it. In the following section, you can review good STAR method and other answers to the tough question.
EXAMPLE ANSWERS TO CONSIDER
You should be able to come up with a great answer to the question “Why should we hire you”. To make the preparations easier and to see if you are on the right track with your answer, here are a few example answers to consider. Try to see what is good at each answer before reading on.
Example answer #1
|“I have the experience and the attitude to excel in this production assistant position. I have almost two years of television production experience — including two summers interning at The Ellen Show, where I was exposed to all aspects of TV production and worked so hard the first summer that they invited me back for a second summer and gave me more responsibilities.
During my senior year at UC San Diego, I have been working part-time for a production company, where I have served in an assistant role but also recently had the chance to help edit several episodes. I have a reputation for getting things done — and with a smile on my face.
That’s because I love working in the television industry and am excited to learn and get experience in every way possible.”
The answer is good because it outlines the person’s strengths and doesn’t hide away the relative lack of experience. Instead, it emphasizes enthusiasm and willingness to learn and to be a team player. It’s concise and straight to the point type of answer.
Example answer #2
|“You have explained that you are looking for a sales executive who is able to effectively manage over a dozen employees. In my 15 years of experience as a sales manager, I have developed strong motivational and team-building skills. I was twice awarded manager-of-the-year for my innovative strategies for motivating employees to meet and surpass quarterly deadlines. If hired, I will bring my leadership abilities and strategies for achieving profit gains to this position.”
The second answer is short and it reflects the employer’s wishes directly. It plays on the strengths of the person and gives quantitative examples – the use of numbers is an effective way of making the answer stand out. It also has a focus on the future; you tell exactly what the company can expect from you being hired.
Example answer #3
|“I have almost ten years of experience as a Mechanical Engineer. I spent the bulk of those years working in multidisciplinary groups. I’m often chosen to head up projects thanks to my excellent communication skills.
I’m most proud of the work I did on my former design team. Our task was to draw up blueprints using BIM software for a LEED certified office building. My work involved coordinating with the architect to find energy saving solutions. The challenge was to balance design elements with the necessary technical elements. The end goal was to create an energy-efficient building.
I spearheaded a coordinated approach to the project. I ran several energy simulations for the building. We then made changes as the need arose until we balanced the plan. We then implemented other engineering elements one by one, taking a step-by-step approach.
The result was that we presented a design that led to a Gold LEED rating. The initial concept was to aim for a Silver rating. The design also won a Best Office & Business Development award at MIPIM.
I noticed you only employ 200 people across two locations. Most of the projects you handle are local. Are you looking to expand on the market? Are the teams close-knit?”
The above answer uses two clever strategies. Firstly, it has the STAR structure at the basis of the answer. It gives a single example that demonstrates a multitude of skills, which the employer should find interesting.
Furthermore, in the end, the employee asks a question – now, asking questions is always a good idea and it can help you show even more professionalism and expertise. If you are able to sneak in a question and turning tables on “Why should we hire you”, then you might want to try it.
Example answer #4
|“As you can see by my resume, the majority of my employment history has been as a construction manager, a role which has given me a good understanding of how regulated businesses, including banks, work. I noticed in your posting that you were specifically looking for someone to help manage and coordinate new accounts. As a construction manager, I was responsible for not only organizing employees and tracking projects, but was also responsible for managing corporate accounts, employee payroll and company credit cards. I developed a good understanding of the current regulatory environment for banks and how they meet the tracking and reporting requirements as they relate to the accounts I managed. I am confident that my past experience will translate well into the position you are offering and I am excited to begin this new chapter in my career.”
The above example answer is again a great STAR example and it’s especially good at ensuring transferable skills are taken into account. While the person is looking for a job in an industry not directly relates to his or her past experience, they manage to ensure the answer reflects those skills that align.
Example answer #5
|“I believe that I will be successful in this position because I have 900 hours of hands-on training in medical transcription in a classroom environment at the XYZ Institute.
(Get out your portfolio, and open it to a print out of a sample of your work). “Here you can see several examples of medical records, dictation, and reports I have produced in MS Word.
I have also excelled in my terminology courses, gaining a strong base in numerous disciplines.
However, I have always been interested in Cardiology and made it a personal goal to focus on that area. Because of that, I read the Journal of Cardiology to stay up-to-date with changes in the field, names of new pharmaceuticals, and other innovations.
I have an excellent basis in the discipline to transcribe the records of your Cardiologists with ease. Also, I recently joined the American Association of Medical Transcriptionists and am already taking steps to pursue certification.”
This answer is great for providing real proof of the talent – the person even uses a portfolio, which is always a smart move! She’s also showing an important quality of wanting to improve.
There is even reference to the further studies the person is looking forward to in order to be better at her position. It showcases a lot of skills – willingness to learn, initiative and hardworking – without necessarily mentioning them. There is a lot the hiring manager will learn about the person with this answer.
THE CRUCIAL MISTAKES TO AVOID
You should now have a good idea of how to prepare for the question and how to build up your answer. You’ve also been able to review some good example answers. But you might find it helpful to know one last thing. You want to be on top of those big mistakes you definitely don’t want to make.
There are four mistakes you could make. The crucial thing is to avoid making your answer about:
- Needing the job. You should never answer with desperation even if you are desperate for a job – any job. The hiring manager doesn’t want to hire someone who is just looking for a job.
- Needing the money. It’s also a huge mistake to make the answer about money. You can’t say the company needs to hire you because you need money – no matter how true it is! You are supposed to add value to them and not be there just because you need a paycheque.
- The convenience of the job. Your answer must also not imply that you’d be the right hire out of convenience. You can’t paint a picture where you think the job is just something you might as well do – you need to show passion and drive.
- The love you feel for the company. Now, there is nothing wrong being enamored by the company and wanting to work there. However, your answer to the question can’t be that you like the company. That’s not a reason for hiring anyone – remember it is about the value you provide and the role you’d get to do.
“YOU SHOULD HIRE ME BECAUSE…”
“Why should we hire you” is such a common interview question and there’s a lot more to it then meets the eye. It’s a question about aligning your skills and characteristics with those of the position and the organization. It’s your chance of showing your passion towards the role and your suitability for it as well.
Just remember to make it about your actual experience and focus on your strengths – a positive answer that is authentic will work wonders.
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